Jane Austen 's Pride And Prejudice

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“I have found the one whom my soul loves.” Men and women, since the beginning of time, have always dreamed of quoting this line. People show and express love in all sort of ways and for numerous reasons. As seen in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, men and women in the 19th century expressed their love for one another very differently than we do today. American society’s views on love have emerged into something completely different than what they were two hundred years ago. The formal courtship, simple engagement, and development of marriage in the 19th century were vastly contrasting than in the present day.
During the 1800’s, relationships and love would begin through courting. Courting is the act of seeking the love of another for
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Physical contact was also restrained from. The shaking of hands was a sign of close relation. Bowing and curtsying were ways to express feelings. Men and women in the 19th century came together through dancing and walking. Balls were social events that most people attended very often. It was a way for young men and women to meet other people their age that could possibly become their spouse in the future. Dancing allowed people to have private conversations and to come together physically in ways like hand holding. In Pride and Prejudice Austen explains “to be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love” (13). Gift giving, such as flowers or letter writing, was a sign of personal attachment. It was uncommon for men and women to give each other gifts if they were courting. In many ways courting is very similar to today’s dating but with marriage in mind. The end result of a courtship is most frequently marriage. Pride and Prejudice quotes, “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment” (34). But before marriage, an engagement must occur. The result of a marriage engagement of two people in the 19th century happened with a simple conversation. The male first had to receive the young lady’s parent’s permission. Occasionally, the man would give the girl a ring as a symbol of their love, but this was only for a long engagement. Inside the ring would be a lock of his
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